March 25, 2011
While Exxon may have misled,without intending to, the fact is that algae represents an extrordinary technology for the purpose of carbon sequestration. Many coal-fired electric generating plants use coal and in the process release enormous quantities of Co2 into the atmosphere. Sequestration programmes that rely on underground burial are not working.
However, one company (Origin Oil; www.originoil.com) has deployed a pilot phase Co2 sequestration project with MDB Energy Australia. Algae + Co2 +flue gas + water + nutrients + sunlight is combined to produce oil that is refinable and can be used for fertiliser and other industrial chemicals.
Also, we as a planet are running up against supply constraints for crude. Oil from algae may one day replace crude oil as a refinery feedstock.
That is why Exxon Mobil is spending millions to develop this technology. They should be commended for their efforts.
Private citizenAuthor : Letters to the EurActiv editor